Sino-French Centre, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
Exemplary design categories: access, cultural and historical value, outdoor spacesHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The Sino-French Centre houses the Sino-French Institute of Engineering and Management, a joint initiative between Tongji University and ParisTech, a consortium that brings together 12 leading grandes écoles francaises. Designed to symbolise the educational and cultural exchange between China and France, the building is organised around the idea of a “hand in a hand”: two similar but non-identical angular volumes overlap and interlace each other, creating a series of interesting and non-uniform interior and exterior spaces. In order to emphasise the juxtaposition of two different cultures, contrasting materials are used for the different components of the complex. The teaching block (or college sector) has a sharply angled profile. It is clad in weathering steel (Cor-ten) panels, creating a burnt orange finish. This houses the lecture theatres, classrooms, amphitheatre and library. The office sector has a flat roof and is clad in white-grey precoated cement panels. It provides office accommodation for 200 campus academics and the researchers and support staff at the institute. The college sector is furnished in rich wood that lends a warm glow to the interior spaces. There are several vibrant flourishes, such as the conical volumes that bring daylight into the building from skylights in the sloping roof. In contrast, the office sector, with its white walls and simple materials, is more subdued. Outside, the site has been carefully landscaped. In addition to the grove of trees by the entrance plaza, other mature trees have been retained on the plot, including metasequoias, deodar cedars, plane trees, Japanese pagodas and willows.
Activity Areas: College sector (classrooms, amphitheatres and a library); office sector (office rooms and meeting rooms); public gathering space sector (exhibition areas, lecture rooms and a sunk garden).
Project costs: RMB 60,000,000.00
Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"